“But because truly being here is so much; because everything here apparently needs us, this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us. Us, the most fleeting of all.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke
I've been thinking a lot about what I want to say with my art lately. At first I thought it was all about finding a logo. But as I played with various designs and ideas, I realized I needed to go through this process of "why".
Why do I paint? At the most fundamental level? The conversations it has spurred, and your perceptive insight, have helped me to distill the essence of my work into words. It has taken listening intently to your feedback, and much reflection on my part, for me to discover what my soul already knew was at the heart of my work, but needed a little help from my friends to find the words and representation for it.
And what I found is that the "spark" that drives what comes out subconsciously, literally spilling out onto my paper is, in a word - or four- the celebration of human spirit. Words that encompass so much, yet within them are the deeper, profound things that drive what I want to say through my work:
These are words that you said describe my work, and a few that came to me in thinking about the ideas that drive what I do:
Grace, courage, light, passion, intellect, faith, dignity, love, gratitude, hope, fortitude, humility, triumph, strength, holiness, imagination, brokenness, power, healing, joy, forgiveness, transcendence, beauty, and wonder . What an incredible gift you gave me!
We all have our stories. Some told, some untold. We have all experienced all of these words in some form or other. All of us have made terrible mistakes and have regrets, we all have sinned, we all experience triumph, pain, brokenness, love and beauty . And we all have more grit and courage inside than we give ourselves credit for. Each of us has a soul with a door to God who will give us abundant grace, forgiveness and hope when we have run out..
Our day to day struggles in this life become trivial in the context of WHY we are here. The miracle is that we are here at all -together- at this moment in space and time. We are so blessed to accompany one another on our journey- celebrating when the good things, extraordinary moments and abundant gifts in life come our way. And helping each other to grow and heal- loving and sharing grace with our fellow travelers through the treacherous terrain and storms in life.
There is profound beauty in having others who love us through the beautiful, as well as the painful, times.
This love for one another is what makes us human. This journey together on a spinning, light and dark-filled planet in the midst of an incomprehensible universe. Love that makes our lives worthwhile on earth.
Our walk with God though our world reveals that we are tied together as one human family. Woven together with crude humanness and sacred spirit - Not just in our own time, but throughout history. We are descended from an ancient spiral of DNA , with a little stardust, and a sacred soul, that connects us to each other and to our maker.
And we are not a mistake or an accident. We are here on purpose- at this time, in these individual circumstances we find ourselves in- to discover our soul's true purpose. And as we walk together through life and help one another find our way home in communion with God, we are connected simultaneously to our ancestors and our descendants.
It is why I write and why I paint - to watch and reflect what is beautifully revealed and renewed on our journey under the sun every day , connecting our souls, and thanking God through it all.
Thank you for the opportunity to celebrate and share all of it- with you.
Just a prayer today.
The chaos and confusion in the world seems reflected in my life and lives of a lot of friends and loved ones at the moment.
It's a fight some days not to lose hope and give in to the loudness of the world, the despair, regret, and pain around us.
I try to remember on days like today that there is a reason I am here in this time, in these circumstances, and I do know where my strength comes from.
I am choosing today- this moment- to allow God's peace, sovereignty and love to sustain me, instead of leaning into the anxiety.
I choose to be thankful for the people who make up the fabric of my life, for love, for grace.
I choose to forgive myself and others.
I choose to believe like Abraham-against all hope- that God has the power to do what he has promised. Strengthened in faith when I feel like falling down.
I am learning that trusting is not expecting a certain outcome, it is learning to let go of the outcome I expect and stand rooted where I am in this moment.
Praying for peace, healing and grace for you today.
Lets help each other take our next best step forward.
Romans 4: 18-21-
"Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be" Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead- since he was about a hundred years old- and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God. but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
I painted a door this morning after reading this- I honestly didn't feel like painting, but did it anyway. It's a door opening to the promises God has made to us. It's our choice to believe and walk through to see what God has in store for our lives as we walk the path he has created uniquely for us. We can trust him. Really trust. We can wait expectantly and know that he is working everything out for good in our lives as we rest and believe him.
I'm choosing today to believe and keep a steadfast hope, even when things look bleak and impossible.
Thanks for reading. If it resonates with you, hang in there, have hope, and know you are loved!
"If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don't hesitate. Give in to it.
There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be.
We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left.
Perhaps this is its way of fighting back, that sometimes something happens better than all the riches or power in the world.
It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins. Anyway, that's often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don't be afraid of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb."
-Mary Oliver - " Don't Hesitate"
Click to see more watercolor flowers in my art gallery
Buying original art does not have to be something only other people do. It is accessible in a way that it never has been before. The online presence of more than 55 million artist(yep), and digital printing- have helped bring original art literally right into your lap(top).
I could not be more thankful for my collectors, who constantly encourage and throw love my way with their words, engagement, and purchases.
I never take for granted someone who buys my paintings. I feel like that piece was meant for them from the beginning, and am grateful that I can be a part of something that feeds their soul and makes them happy.
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2020-11-20We are absolutely thrilled with our recent purchase from GGwatercolors! Gretchen's ability to capture both light and spirit in her paintings is incredible. I see this work of art everyday when I wake up, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. Thank you so much for sharing your incredible eye and vision in your work!
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2020-10-26Even more beautiful than I could have imagined. THRILLED with this purchase
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2020-05-21Vibrant and captivating! I love it! I couldn't be happier to own "Mighty." And the personal touches this piece was delivered with were such a sweet gesture perfectly reflecting this talented artist!
- These two paintings are being shipped to their new homes today. They are as different as night and day- one is 30x24, full of drama and power, and the other is a 6x6 playful, quirky , colorful piece. I love them both, and I am so happy they have found their forever home.
My website is evolving, and some new paintings have been added if you haven't looked around lately. Find something that speaks to you or someone you love- because I can attest that they were painted with love, and somehow, they always find their way to the right home.
Check it out here.
Have a great day!
I found the photo for this painting reading about the gains young women have made over the past 20 years in Afghanistan, and how the Christian church there is the second fastest rising in the world. My heart aches for them watching as both of these groups and the gains they have made have suddenly become prey to the evils of mankind's basest motives .
America was their hope, their protection, their support moving from violent tribalism to freedom. And aside from the complicated reality, the politics involved in the past 20 years and the plans to facilitate the Afghans standing on their own, we have let them down in their moment of need, being hunted down after having only barely tasted the beauty of freedom. And what about our own loved ones and friends, who have bravely stood, died, fought, and sacrificed for the freedom of those in Afghanistan
America is only as good as it's people, and we have been - less than..
Infighting, massive corruption, hatred, greed, selfishness, and short sightedness to name a few. I am ashamed, for the first time in my life, of my country. Not ashamed of our flag, but ashamed of how we are representing it- because we have forgotten the reason it has been a beacon of light for the world for almost 250 years. The concept of freedom and hope that thousands have shed blood for.
We are not doing it justice.
How can the United States of America open the floodgates to wolves who devour and ravage the seedlings of freedom just beginning to grow roots? If we stand by and watch, I wonder how our legs will not crumple beneath us before the world. The past week has truly felt crippling.
This Sunday morning as I pray for the people of Afghanistan, I am also praying for restoration and resilience for our own country. For strength and intelligent discourse, for leadership, and most of all, for love and optimism to come and live through us.
The United States is an experiment - with no guarantees- only the scaffolding built for a society and people capable of reaching not only freedom, but the individual and collective dreams freedom provides, not known before in the history of the world. But freedom has never been free and we each have to work to climb, build and defend it because we have a responsibility to something bigger. To be more courageous, compassionate, and more active in making our country all that it can be. Those things we hold most valuable -- life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are at stake not only in our own country , but in the eyes of oppressed souls around the world.
We have a responsibility to that elusive, vulnerable seed that America grew out of and still seeks to embody fully.
-Jon and Shalaunda Gray- friends and collectors
My summer thus far has included a lot of driving and quite a bit of time to myself to think and reflect. Although I haven't been able to do as much painting as I would have liked, I always remember a fellow artist and friend telling me that it was okay- like the mighty oak tree- to have dormant periods where we are nurtured, resting, and preparing for our next season of growth. I have felt that deeply this summer, as our world begins to open and we happily begin to see and hug each other again without fear.
Creativity has it's own mind, it's own epiphanies, it's own energetic structure. I have to follow the lead of my creativity, and when I join in fully, there are some purely magical moments. But just as there are magical moments, there are intensely challenging periods of time where I feel stuck, distracted, overwhelmed, or emotionally not available to enter into that sacred space of creating.
I've been all of those things the past couple of months, and yet, God has continued to send encouragement in the form of friends, old and new. All my traveling this summer has brought me into contact with people whose souls seem to connect with mine, even if only for a little while. "Soul" friends who have given me strength through phone calls, old high school friends I have had the blessing of seeing after 30 plus years, "mom" friends who will come out for coffee and laugh for an afternoon, relatives I love and new ones I hadn't met before, and complete strangers whose kindness truly touched me.
All have enriched my life , encouraged me, and given me new perspectives. I have so much gratitude- maybe it's turning 50 and realizing we are all doing this "life" thing together through thick and thin. Maybe it's being masked up for a year and getting to hug, laugh and smile together. Praying we can keep Covid at bay, as we look forward to seeing more and more friends as the year continues.
I suppose for and introvert/extrovert like me, I enjoy my private time and need a lot of it, but also am fueled by connection and engagement with others. The pandemic has proven to be a time of reflection and steady, solitary work, at the same time I am realizing how much I have missed communing with other souls, and how truly grateful I am for the opportunity.
One thing about being an artist is being surprised by how your own mind and spirit process your experience. It is not methodical or predictable, but it is somehow magical and I am looking forward to taking this new awareness into my next phase of work.
I hope to see you soon!
I was out of town awhile in May and June, and while I had brought a few art supplies with me, It wasn't conducive to do much more than a commission I had been working on. My thoughts were all over the place, much as they have been this entire summer. So I bought a sketchbook and started just playing. I have not used sketchbooks for my watercolors, simply because the paper is not usually high quality, so I don't like the outcome. But this time is different. I am not pressuring myself to DO anything. I'm just seeing what emerges as my thoughts come and go. There is an ease that comes with putting down on paper the fleeting ideas and reflections of beauty that come my way without the commitment of a full painting.
I'm letting that be enough. Even though I need to be painting and selling my art, the fact is that unless it comes from an authentic place of love and meaning, it simply doesn't work. So my little sketchbook is being filled, and this week, a friend of mine (thank you Lance!) sent me a link to a website where a woman makes her own pigments out of plants in her yard. Intrigued, I tried it. It was so freeing and exciting to see what happened on the paper.
For this painting I crushed up the spent flowers of my deep pink Purslane, added a bit of boiling water, and used some honey for the binder. It actually worked beautifully for these little pale pink flowers I painted.
"Creativity is a continual surprise."
Amanda Gorman portrait commission
If you have ever thought about having a painting commissioned, but didn't know where to start, you are not alone! Most people have no idea where to start, and so a great idea for an original piece of art fizzles out before it has a chance to begin.
Commissions are custom paintings that can be done for a collector of just about anything they want. I have painted pets, houses, portraits, and landscapes, but any subject matter can work. I have painted childhood homes, departed beloved pets, bridal portraits, flowers, travel photos, children and grandchildren, and custom work for a specific room and/or color scheme. Commissioned work is limited only by your imagination.
Here are a couple of things you need to do to have a successful commission completed for your space:
1: Find a photo with good lighting and clear images. It is difficult for an artist to open closed eyes or combine two photos, so start with a quality photograph the artist can work with and communicate clearly what you want- colors, mood, size, etc.
2. Communicate your wants with the artist with email or a phone call and look at the artists other work to make sure their style of work is what you want. Ask for progress photos, timelines, payment, etc. so that everyone is on the same page.
If you are interested in commissioning a painting of any kind from me, I have a specific form on my website for you to fill out to get started. Click here- Commissioned Artwork - to begin the process of finding the perfect customized painting for you . I would be honored to paint something for you.